Biographical / Historical
In 1860 there were three principal transcontinental mail and express routes: By ship from New York to Panama then by portage across the Isthmus to the West Coast and finally back to sea for the last leg to San Francisco; Second, the Butterfield and Fargo Stageline operating from St. Louis through the Indian Territory along the Santa Fe Trail and up to Los Angeles to San Francisco; and third the stageline of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, which traveled from Ft. Levenworth, Kansas to Denver, then over the mountains to Salt Lake City and California terminating in San Francisco. Early in 1860 the Pony Express concept was formed and operated from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacremento, California. The end of the Pony Express came in 1861 when the telegraph line connected Omaha and San Francisco and officially ended on October 26, 1861.
On November 1, 1866, Wells Fargo & Co. purchased the stage and Pony Express operations from Ben Holladay. At this time there were several express companies; however, by 1914 there were only seven. During World War I these seven companies were consolidated at the direction of the Federal Government into one nationwide organization, the American Railway Express Agency. In 1929 the nations railroads bought the express business and changed the name to Railway Express Agency, Inc. In November 1960, REA Express was adopted as the Company's trade name. In October 1960, they acquired Fast Service Shipping Terminals Inc. In January 1961, formed REA Leasing Corp a trailer leasing company. In February 1965 formed with Seven Arts Associated Corp. and Travel Theaters Inc. REA Express Seven Arts Transvision, Inc. In 1965, they sold 32 terminals and leased them back. In April 1967, REA Express Canada, Ltd., was formed. In May 1967, Rexco Supply Corp. formed to conduct tire recapping and automotive parts distribution business. In February 1970, The Express Co. Inc. was founded as a subsidiary of REA Holding Corp to conduct an international air freight forwarding business.
On February 21, 1975, the Company filed a petition under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act in Federal Court in New York County listing assets of $41,000,000 and liabilities of $55,000,000. Company said the reasons for the petition included losses created by years of railroad domination as well as high rate of inflation, a recent decline in express shipments, and limited availability of credit.